Armor: February 19, 2001


Poland is looking to improve its tank forces. They currently have 684 T-72s built under license from the old USSR, and 186 PT-91s (which is a considerably improved Polish-designed derivative of the T-72). They want to upgrade about 500-650 of these tanks, replacing the Russian designed 125mm cannons with German 120mm cannon. The first battalion should enter service in 2005. In the meantime, the Poles have decided to lease 110 German Leopard-2A4 tanks (used vehicles with 75% of their service life remaining) to re-equip the 10th Cavalry Brigade, which is assigned to the German 7th Panzer Division as part of the NATO Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps. The ten-year lease also includes German bridgelayers, mineclearing vehicles, and tank recovery vehicles. Some Polish officials and officers want to junk the T-72/PT-91 and buy Leopard-2s, which are considerably more powerful and effective, but cost is a considerable issue.--Stephen V Cole


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